Tuesday, August 16, 2005

While I was down at my mate's place over the weekend, I read on http://hackaday.com/ about OSX for X86 being leaked, and the VMWare requirement being hacked out of it.

I wouldn't mind having a look at that, so I found a torrent file for it, and started downloading it. (1.3GB worth! My mate didn't mind, because he still had over 12GB of his download allowance left, and less than 24 hours to use it).

Anyway, it started downloading (about 2am I think this was), but was going at bugger all speed, about 5k/sec. This'll take days, on 1.5Mbit, I should be seeing about 160kb/sec or more.

I suspected it was a problem with port forwarding, that my mate's ADSL modem/router wouldn't have the correct settings, and it was stuck with a "Low ID" or whatever they call it.

I went to look, and found that his ADSL modem, a Dlink DSL-302G, has a bloody convoluted interface for maintaining the port forward rules.

Oh, and it doesn't work in Firefox. You can delete the rules, but you can't add them, it just results in a "501 Method not implemented" error every time.

I was thinking this was caused by me doing something silly in the way I was specifying the rules, but eventually I decided to go to the dark side, and I used IE, which was able to add the rules in. Obviously the web interface has some non standard extension in use, so that a standards compliant browser fails to interact with it properly.

Anyway, I wasn't really sure what I was doing, because all the fields weren't very explanatory. I googled around, and I found a section on http://portforward.com for the Dlink DSL-302G here.

I found the BitTorrent page (here), and went about following the doco.

Once I saw what it was trying to do, it became fairly obvious.

I went back, and I used IE to completely reorganise the existing rules that were in the modem already (since I found you can forward a whole range, and quite a few of the rules already in there were in a range).

I added in a rule for BitTorrent, forwarding ports 6881-6889 through, and then I saved and rebooted the modem (probably don't have to though). After that, I restarted the BitTorrent client ("ABC" he was using), and found it was looking a bit healthier, was sitting around 55k/sec now.

It was now about 3am, so I went to sleep on the lounge. My mate has a couple of superbright blue LEDs in the front of his case, and the room was so bright that I almost could have read a book with the illumination they provided.

I stacked up a couple of CD spindles in front of the case to block them, it wasn't great, but I'm used to having several hundred LEDs flashing away all night, so I didn't really care.

When I got up the next day, at about 11am, I found that the download had long finished (I wonder what speed it got up to, at its peak).

I left it seeding for a few hours, and then I burned it on a DVDr.

When I got home, I tried to copy the bz2 file off the DVD, onto my laptop's hard drive.

First I tried unbzipping to the console, and piping it to tar to untar. This went for ages, and then tar/bzip2 complained about an unexpected EOF. Bugger.

I tried copying the file straight off the DVDr, just to the hard drive, but this didn't work either, went for ages (got to 1.3GB on the hard drive), and complained about an I/O error or similar.

I tried cleaning the DVDr, in case it got a mark on it, because I didn't have a case for it, and it just rattled around in my bag on the way home. It still didn't read.

I kicked off a bzip2recover, in case there was enough of the file there that I could decompress it, and get out the image that I need to dd to the drive.

I decided to try it in a different drive. I've got a DVD burner in one of my machines, that runs windows. I booted the machine up, and explorer promptly hung (I hadn't even put the DVDr in, so it was nothing to do with that). Ah, windows.

Eventually I started copying the file off the DVDr onto the hard drive with windows. It went for about 5 minutes, and then complained about an error writing to the disk, or a network issue or something.

The machine had almost completely locked up. The mouse/keyboard wouldn't work, and the only signs of life were that the animation of the file copying would update every couple of minutes (even after I took the DVDr out), duh, windows.

I left the machine alone, to see if it would sort itself out, now that I'd removed the DVDr it was having difficulty with. It did, after an hour or so, and I told it to shut down, but it just b0rked again, and I gave up, and had to hold the power button for 4 seconds to power it off.

I thought I had a spare DVD drive hanging around, and I intended to connect it to my laptop with the guts of the USB -> PATA adapter (external drive case) I bought recently, but I found that I actually had the DVDrom drive installed in a machine.

(Meanwhile, bzip2recover had started writing almost 4000 chunks of the file to separate files).

I didn't want to power that machine down, since it runs to share my paytv subscription card between 2 satellite decoders. I decided to just try reading it in that machine.

It looked promising, it started reading the disc. The CPU load was too much, for the card software to continue operating, so the tv blanked out. It took about 1/2 hour, but the DVDr read completely, without error.

(I had to reset the cam in my satellite decoder to get the card stuff working again though).

I then smbmounted the windows machine that had the file on the hard drive, and I started copying across the network to my laptop. Oops.. there's something about that machine I forgot about.

For some reason, it has a network issue. I can only get network connectivity to go at a trickle on it. I don't know if it's the NIC (an Intel EtherExpress Pro 100), or the slot it's in, or the patch cable, or what.

Damn, this is going to take hours. I wondered if it was a duplex issue, with the 100Mbit switch it was patched to. I found my old 10Mbit hub, uplinked it to the switches, and quickly repatched the windows machine to the hub, from the switch (since going at 10Mbit would actually have been a massive increase in speed from what it was doing).

It didn't really make any difference, I left it copying, and went to bed. When I got up, it was still copying. Argh. I had to shut my laptop down to go to work. I looked, and it was only about 100Mb off finished, so I left it while I got ready.

It finished. Thank god for that.

A while later, I ran a bzip2 -t (test) on the file, and it came back ok. I realised that I should have just tried to uncompress it, it would probably take just as long.

I uncompressed it, and it worked fine.

I attached a spare 200GB drive I haven't found a permanent use for yet to the guts of the USB -> PATA adapter, and I imaged the disk from my laptop, with the file.

For a laugh, I decided to see if I could boot my laptop off the external disk (since my laptop is a Celeron M, with SSE2, but not 3, and I don't know about my other machines, since they're all AMDs).

I rebooted, brought up the boot once menu, and told it to boot off USB. The OSX kernel started to boot, and then promptly kernel panicked.

I tried again, passing the "-s" switch (thinking it was safe mode, but it's actually single user mode), and it just panicked again.

I figured it was something to do with booting off USB, because I've not seen anyone mention having done that.

I tried to boot it in an old PIII733 I've got, which I usually use for imaging TiVo disks, but the BIOS in that machine would only recognised the 200GB disk as a 128GB, and wouldn't try to boot off it. I don't even know if that CPU would have SSE2.

I gave up, and went back to reading. I saw that people were able to boot it up on AMD XP CPUs, and it dawned on me, that I have 4 machines with AMD XP CPUs.

I went to my AMD 2600+, pulled the SATA controller out (to disconnect both SATA disks), and pulled the cable off the ATA disk the machine boots off, and replaced it with the 200GB with OSX on it.

I disconnected the other disks in case OSX went wobbly, or was trojaned or something, although I realise I hadn't taken that precaution when I tried booting it on my laptop, because I didn't want to have to take the laptop's disk out.

I tried booting the machine up, and it just kernel panicked, exactly like my laptop. I tried again, with "-s", and it did the same.

I went back, did some more reading, and found the "-x" is actually safe mode, not "-s". I tried booting again, with "-x".

This time, the framebuffer kicked in and it came up, looking very MacOS like, and said "An error has occurred, you must reboot your computer. Press the reset button, or hold in the power button for several seconds".

I didn't, I just left it there, and I went back to doing more reading.

I left the machine sitting there like that for around an hour, and then all of a sudden I heard a horrible noise that always invokes fear, and a pain in the pit of my stomach, a disk head clunking.

I ran over to the machine, and found that the disk, the almost brand new 200GB disk, was sitting there clunking, and squeaking. I powered off the machine, waited a minuted, and tried powering it up again.

The disk was not happy, still clunking and squeaking, and now the BIOS wasn't even detecting it.

I wondered about getting it replaced. I went to the manufacturer's site, went through the first step of the RMA, found that the disk is still in warranty (until Jan 2008), then when I had to select my country, I discovered Australia not in the list.

Next to it, it says "Asia Pacific customers must go to their place of purchase for product replacement". Great. I have no idea who I bought this disk off, or when.

I think I bought it at the computer fair in Newcastle, in January (or maybe Feburary), since I rode there, and I haven't been riding (or to a computer fair) since I lost my license, which was in March.

I had a look, and I was able to find the receipt, and even the static bag the drive came in. Yep, bought it in January, at least I know the people, have dealt with them a bit.

Annoyingly, their shop is at Epping, and I was right near there over the weekend, the disk couldn't have packed up 4 days earlier could it? (well no, probably not, since it was just sitting on a desk, not even attached to a machine).

So that's the end of my experiment with OSX X86. I don't know if it killed the disk, or if the disk was faulty, or what, but I don't think I'm game to try again.

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